Swedish Romantics: Kurt Atterberg Symphonies Nos. 7 & 8
In 1942 Atterberg was re-examining the score of his opera Fanal (1929-1932) and found much of the material of the opera to be symphonic in nature. He decided to use some of the Fanal music as the basis for a fully symphonic work. He also intended this symphony as a Romantic manifesto against modern compositional trends, hence its title, Sinfonia Romantica. Originally in the standard four movements, the last movement was later withdrawn by Atterberg, who used some of the material in his late orchestral work, Vittorioso. The Sinfonia Romantica begins with a regular sonata-allegro movement, which, after opening fanfares, is based on a vigorous and decisive theme. Originally Atterberg intended the movement to be built around the best-known aria from Fanal but eventually found that he had a full symphonic movement even with the aria removed. The last movement is based on a series of dances from the first act of Fanal. Atterberg treats these dances in a completely symphonic fashion, but the dance element is always present and although the coda is almost tragic, the dance element asserts itself again as the symphony ends.